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Benue Govt Woos UN on Sustainability of Amnesty Programme

From John Shiaondo, Makurdi

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has appealed to the United Nations (UN) to assist the state in furtherance of its amnesty programme, particularly the provision of resources for its sustainability.

Governor Ortom, also said that assistance from UN would assist the state in the control of small arms and prevention of their proliferations, therefore reducing crime.

He made the request while receiving a UN delegation led by the Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, noting that though the state has substantially made progress in curbing crimes in the state through the amnesty programme.

The programme according to him was almost derailed because of lack of resources to implement the provision of alternative income and lifestyle to those who embraced it.

The Governor called for more support in the implementation of durable solutions to insecurity, violence and displacement of people through two landmark law enacted by the state; the Open Grazing Prohibition law and the Anti Kidnapping and Prohibition of cultism law.

The Governor said as an agrarian state, Benue need peace for all especially for farmers to produce food but lamented that the state has been ravaged by decades attacks by herdsmen which has resulted to wanton destruction of lives and property.

“Between 2013/2016 alone, Fulani herdsmen killed more than 1,878 men, women and children in cold blood from 12 local government areas of Benue state.

“Another 750 were seriously wounded while 200 are missing. Over 99,427 households were affected in Benue state and property worth billions of naira destroyed, so we believe the U.N to assist the state put an end to the trend,” he said.

He also urged the UN system to consider including Benue state in UNDAF IV project circle particularly in the agriculture value chain saying the state is committed to payment of relevant Government Cash Counterpart Contribution (GCCC) to attract the relevant assistants to the state.

On efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, Governor Ortom said Benue was the first state in Nigeria to engage its policy makers and public service towards its domestication.

He commended the UN Team for their past interventions in areas like health care delivery, education, water supply, sanitation and hygiene among others said Benue is committed to do more to attract more support from the United Nations.

Earlier, the UN’s Country Representative, Mr. Kallon announced the Organisation’s plan to work with the State Government towards mobilizing International Development Partners to set up a trust fund to assist it to sustain peace and security.

Mr. Kallon who led a delegation of the UN comprising UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR on advocacy visit to the Governor, stated that peace and security were key to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals which the UN would help Benue to achieve, saying the trust fund would also complement government’s efforts at providing services to the people.

He lamented the spate of destruction caused the state by recurring crisis between herdsmen and farmers and assured that the Organisation would step up monitoring of violations of human rights in order to hold those who are culpable of such violation accountable for them.

The UN will be pleased to provide international support to build on peace, security and development initiatives in the state, the UN Resident Coordinator said.

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